There’s been a bit of a theme going on it seems lately about shame.
Today I have been re-reading Lynette Robinson’s Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Report, Interventions and Restorative Responses to Address Teen Violence Against Parents, and the accompanying comments by Terry O’Connell, Director of Real Justice (both available here) Lynette writes about the high level of shame experienced not just by the parents throughout their experiences, but also by the young people regarding their behaviour, and the difficulties of moving on from this position if we do not give people the tools to work with.
In the recent great British discussion about the “120,000 troubled families” we have had shame heaped on families from a great height by politicians, not to mention hopes expressed that they experience the same themselves. I find it extraordinary that we routinely assume that dysfunctional families might not feel ashamed of the situation they find themselves in. But it remains the case that, making sure people feel it, will do nothing to help them change their ways in itself.
Jane Evans, blogging for the last few months about the trauma experienced by children experiencing domestic violence, includes a piece on the terrible impact of making a child feel ashamed of themselves.
Sometimes it feels as if we need to change not just the models of work, or programmes in use, but our whole way of thinking – and when the direction of thinking is government driven, with funding attached, that can seem an impossible dream. Let’s celebrate all the work going on against the grain, working from an understanding of the needs of families and with a vision of what family relationships could look like.
I have just added a new page, A Reading List, to this site, where I will be pleased to include articles and reports brought to my attention. Please let me know about projects underway so that they too can be celebrated and knowledge shared.